Pickerington Times-Sun

Winter blooms topic for Garden Club program

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Gardeners can learn to exercise their green thumbs and stave off the winter blahs with just a refrigerator and some patience by attending the Pickerington Garden Club's program entitled "Forcing Bulbs for Winter Blooms" at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, in the Pickerington Public Library on Opportunity Way.

The event is free and open to the public.

The program will instruct attendees about how to have a bright floral display indoors by mimicking and compressing the growing process a plant undergoes in an outdoor garden.

"This is the time of year when you need a little cheer inside and not much is happening outside," said Barbara Kochik of the Pickerington Garden Club.

Kochik said "forcing" bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, to bloom is a six-week process that involves refrigeration to duplicate cold weather.

"We place spring bulbs into a planting medium, which is soil mixed with vermiculite, and we water it and put it into a refrigerator for six weeks," Kochik said.

"You refrigerate them to simulate winter for the bulbs.

"You're fooling them into thinking they have a dormant period, so you have 'forced' them into blooming at the time of year when they ordinarily wouldn't be blooming," Kochik said.

She said the key to successful blooms is keeping them moist as well as making sure the pot has proper drainage.

"You don't want them to sit in something damp, they'll just droop."

If tended to properly, she said indoor gardeners will be rewarded with thriving flowering blooms "at the end of January or beginning of February."

"You take them out and put them in a sunny place where there is light, (like) in the living room, bedroom or at the kitchen window," Kochik said.

"Wherever you have a warm and sunny place, then they'll just go for it," she said.

Kochik said the Pickerington Garden Club, which celebrated its 50-year anniversary two years ago, puts on a number of events throughout the year to help local gardeners gain knowledge about the technical aspects of gardening.

"We learn about growing your plants, amending your soil, composting, just anything that has to do with gardening," said Kochik, adding that the club also goes on field trips.

"We don't just sit around," she said.

"We get out and go to places like garden centers and ecological centers."

She the difficult nature of Ohio's soil composition requires gardeners to be aware of the potential pratfalls that can doom their efforts.

"Ohio soil is very clay-like," Kochil said.

"You don't just plop down things and plant.

"You need to put nutrients in to kind of break the soil down. You have to put back in what you take out."

Kochik said bulbs can be purchased at garden centers but there will be bulbs available at the Nov. 14 event, for a $2 to $3 donation.

"We're not asking people to bring their own bulbs," she said.

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